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  1. #1
    "Big old guy"
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    Kilometres vs. MPH

    Heres a great cycling tip for everyone, reset you computers for metric. Having just finished a ride in the US where everyting is in miles, and coming from "the Great White North" where everything is in Kilometres. I feel I can make an observation:
    Miles per Hour sucks when you are on a bike!!!!! I know is all in your head, but in Kilometres per Hour, things just go by faster, you go faster and you ride further! Try it!
    The Older I Get, The Better I Was.

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    Did this by mistake after a battery change and I thought I was on EPO!

  3. #3
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Yeah, I hope I am not offending all you Yanks (well, I'm a dual citizen myself - raised in Berkeley and Oakland during the 60's, living in Canada since the 70's) but I always wonder when the USA is going to join the rest of the world, which happens to be on the metric system. Holy cow, even the US military uses metric, why don't civilians?

    Metric just makes way more sense on a bike. Most fit cyclists can cruise at 30 kmh. That's two minutes per kilometer. All velodromes are measured in metric (with the exception of a few in the USA, like Alpenrose in Oregon, which is 267 meters or so, which translates to exactly 6 laps to the mile, go figure... But all its track measurements are metric, anyway).

    One liter of water weighs exactly one kilogram, and a regular size bottle holds 600 milliliters, so it weighs 600 grams. Far easier than trying to figure out that 16 fluid ounces of water equals one pound, sort of, and a standard bottle holds about 20 fluid ounces, so how much does a quart of water weigh? And a gallon of water weighs what, 8 pounds?

    Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, and it boils at 100 degrees Celsius. So you want to be careful when the temperature is around 0, and it will be really hot when it gets above 30 degrees. Where the hell does 100 degrees Fahrenheit come from?

    Buying meat by the kilogram might seem really tricky, but most places sell it per 100 grams, so it's really easy to look at the per kilogram price and move the decimal point so you can compare the per 100 gram price.

    My previous Subaru, built for the outside-USA market, didn't even have mph indicators on the metric speedometer, so any time I was in the USA, I'd have to do the speed conversion in my head so I didn't get a speeding ticket. It becomes second nature after a while. And it's cool driving down a freeway where the speed limit is 100. Distances in the US are too great for kilometers? Figure that you'll be averaging about 100 kmh. So if you have 575 kilometers to travel, it should take 5.75 hours. Way simpler than trying to figure out how long it will take to go 345 miles.

    The US system is a holdover from when the USA was a British colony. It's called "The Imperial System," and the Imperial does not refer to the US Empire, folks. Time to join the rest of the world!

    (Actually, I suspect it's the French influence that keeps Americans from embracing Metric. It wasn't invented in the USA, it was invented by Napoleon, and the official reference meter is kept in Paris, I think. And those useless wrenches denominated in Imperial, like 7/16ths or 5/32nds, they have rebranded as "SAE" (Society of Automotive Engineers). Metric wrenches (M4, M5, etc.) are just so much simpler...)

    - L.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoss10 View Post
    Heres a great cycling tip for everyone, reset you computers for metric. Having just finished a ride in the US where everyting is in miles, and coming from "the Great White North" where everything is in Kilometres. I feel I can make an observation:
    Miles per Hour sucks when you are on a bike!!!!! I know is all in your head, but in Kilometres per Hour, things just go by faster, you go faster and you ride further! Try it!
    Cool. I'll ride "Miles per Hour" going in to work so as not to arrive so soon and switch over to "Metric" for a quick ride home.Thanks for the tip...wish I'ld have thought of this myself.

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    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Does this mean that your a dual citizen of both Berkley and Oakland? Is that allowed.

  7. #7
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    Yeah, I hope I am not offending all you Yanks
    Yeah, because we get so offended when someone talks about our stupid overcomplicated measurement system.

    Actually, I'm much more offended by being part of a group referred to as "yanks".
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #8
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Actually, I'm much more offended by being part of a group referred to as "yanks".
    In the thread "aretirement plans" Card, from Texas, says "We Yanks only "refined" English, and here in Texas, we have elevated English to an art form". Some of your fellow southerners are forsaking you.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    To me the real question is: "When is the US going to wake up to the fact that we're on the metric system?

    Medications are metric, liquor is metric, cars are gradually converting to metric, grocery stores and the Home Depot are about 1/2 and 1/2. It looks to me like the only people who haven't figured it out yet are the law makers. They keep telling us that we're on the English system but today the English system is metric.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    To me the real question is: "When is the US going to wake up to the fact that we're on the metric system?

    Medications are metric, liquor is metric, cars are gradually converting to metric, grocery stores and the Home Depot are about 1/2 and 1/2. It looks to me like the only people who haven't figured it out yet are the law makers. They keep telling us that we're on the English system but today the English system is metric.
    We went metric many Moons ago but we are still 50/50 on metric and imperial. At one point it became illegal to sell thing in the Imperial range. I could not buy 1 lb of vetables but I could but 458 grammes -or the lb equivalent. The government has just relented because too many of us do not want the metric for everything- + it does not make sense most of the time. We buy Petrol in litres but most people mentally convert to 4.5 litres to a gallon so they can work out the MPG they get on their car.

    So officially we are going metric but officially it doesn't matter if we don't.
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  11. #11
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    I'm a dual citizen myself - raised in Berkeley and Oakland during the 60's, living in Canada since the 70's.

    Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, and it boils at 100 degrees Celsius. So you want to be careful when the temperature is around 0, and it will be really hot when it gets above 30 degrees. Where the hell does 100 degrees Fahrenheit come from?
    Hmmm... An aging draft dodger, in other words??

    But frankly I think that Fahrenheit is a much more "human" temperature scale than Celsius. After all, I can tell you from experience that 100F is "damned hot" and 0F is "damned cold"! So it's 33C across the river in Ontario now. What's that mean? Is 33 hot? And on the other side, it would be "below zero Celsius" in these parts for most of the winter, and I wouldn't get bragging rights for going out running in "sub-zero" temperatures like I can on the Fahrenheit scale.

  12. #12
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    Yeah, I hope I am not offending all you Yanks (well, I'm a dual citizen myself - raised in Berkeley and Oakland during the 60's, living in Canada since the 70's) but I always wonder when the USA is going to join the rest of the world, which happens to be on the metric system. Holy cow, even the US military uses metric, why don't civilians?

    Metric just makes way more sense on a bike. Most fit cyclists can cruise at 30 kmh. That's two minutes per kilometer. All velodromes are measured in metric (with the exception of a few in the USA, like Alpenrose in Oregon, which is 267 meters or so, which translates to exactly 6 laps to the mile, go figure... But all its track measurements are metric, anyway).

    One liter of water weighs exactly one kilogram, and a regular size bottle holds 600 milliliters, so it weighs 600 grams. Far easier than trying to figure out that 16 fluid ounces of water equals one pound, sort of, and a standard bottle holds about 20 fluid ounces, so how much does a quart of water weigh? And a gallon of water weighs what, 8 pounds?

    Water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, and it boils at 100 degrees Celsius. So you want to be careful when the temperature is around 0, and it will be really hot when it gets above 30 degrees. Where the hell does 100 degrees Fahrenheit come from?

    Buying meat by the kilogram might seem really tricky, but most places sell it per 100 grams, so it's really easy to look at the per kilogram price and move the decimal point so you can compare the per 100 gram price.

    My previous Subaru, built for the outside-USA market, didn't even have mph indicators on the metric speedometer, so any time I was in the USA, I'd have to do the speed conversion in my head so I didn't get a speeding ticket. It becomes second nature after a while. And it's cool driving down a freeway where the speed limit is 100. Distances in the US are too great for kilometers? Figure that you'll be averaging about 100 kmh. So if you have 575 kilometers to travel, it should take 5.75 hours. Way simpler than trying to figure out how long it will take to go 345 miles.

    The US system is a holdover from when the USA was a British colony. It's called "The Imperial System," and the Imperial does not refer to the US Empire, folks. Time to join the rest of the world!

    (Actually, I suspect it's the French influence that keeps Americans from embracing Metric. It wasn't invented in the USA, it was invented by Napoleon, and the official reference meter is kept in Paris, I think. And those useless wrenches denominated in Imperial, like 7/16ths or 5/32nds, they have rebranded as "SAE" (Society of Automotive Engineers). Metric wrenches (M4, M5, etc.) are just so much simpler...)

    - L.
    LB...insightful, relevant and interesting. In the US, we make decisions driven by sex, power and money. The priority of the order may change from time to time. Metric units are not about sex, although, we men would have to learn how to lie to the ladies in metric terms. Power, hmm, I suspect no one would really gain power from metric v imperial or we would be hearing about it in the presidential debates. However, the cost to change legacy infrastructure and systems to metric is significant in our economy. We are slowly changing and will continue to change over time expedited with the help of technology. For example the cost to change speed limit signs in the US would be significant or change the gas pumps over to measure metric would be expensive. However, it will happen for the reasons you state. However, I am getting better at relating to Kg, Km/Hr and gms for cycling matters and no longer have to convert to imperial to get a feel for the metric
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  13. #13
    Senior Member OH306's Avatar
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    After reading "raised in Berkeley" and "living in Canada" my first thought was you are probably a Viet Nam era draft dodger. Hope you're not offended.

  14. #14
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    A few observations:

    1) The miles/km or mph/kph conversion is trivial, i.e., a 5:8 ratio comes within about 1/2 percent, and a 3:5 ratio is within 5 percent.

    2) As bicycle enthusiasts, we have inherited the most screwed-up SAE-metric hybrid system ever invented. My favorite example is Italian BB threading: 24 threads per inch on a 36-mm diameter. Go figure! The derailleurs, brakes, and axles are all metric, but the ball bearings are in fractional inches, as are the ISO BB and handlebar stem sizings. You have to respect the French for trying to build all-metric bicycles, although they occasionally gave in on freewheel and pedal threads for U.S. export.

    Ben Franklin, a Francophile, wanted the U.S. to make the Revolution complete by adopting the metric system, and we would have avoided years of costs and grief if the other Founding Fathers had listened to him.

    I remember when my high school built a new swimming pool in the mid 1960s -- it was 25 yards x 25 meters, so that either metric or English unit competitions could be held.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  15. #15
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Actually, I'm much more offended by being part of a group referred to as "yanks".
    I remember reading about a very young Confederate general who, after the War of Northern Aggression, repatriated and worked his way up through the Army ranks all the way to general. He led some forces in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Everytime his forces drove the enemy back, He'd yell out "We got those damn Yankees on the run!", much to the chagrin of his Yankee soldiers.

  16. #16
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OH306 View Post
    After reading "raised in Berkeley" and "living in Canada" my first thought was you are probably a Viet Nam era draft dodger. Hope you're not offended.
    Perceptive but incorrect. I was eligible for the draft in 1969 or 1970. Anyway, that was the year they had the lottery by birthdate. My birthday was #243, and they only went to #195. Not only that, but I also applied for and obtained Conscientious Objector status (on non-religious grounds, believe it or not!). I had a really, really good draft counsellor back in Oakland. My background is part Japanese (my mother is Japanese and I was actually born in Japan, near the US naval base in Yokosuka). He was really amused by the prospect of the draft board asking me the standard question: "Son, would you have fought in World War II?" (yeah, right. Which side?) My draft card (that I received while living in Brockton, Mass) said "1-O."

    But back to metric. Just to be fair, I thought I should toss in some disadvantages to metric:

    1. Once you switch to metric, it will be just like when Canada went metric about 30 years ago - the gas stations will gouge you on the conversion. If the price of gas was $4 per gallon, then instead of charging you $1 per liter (which is roughly the exchange), they will charge you $1.10 per liter, knowing you will never bother to do the math yourself. Trust me on that one...

    2. Instead of miles per gallon (a rather simple concept to understand), you will have to learn a concept called "liters per 100 kilometers." No, they wouldn't take the simple way and do kilometers per liter. They do liters per 100 kilometers. 10 liters per 100 kilometers is about 25 miles per gallon. The lower the number, the better.

    3. My kids were born after we went metric. Because they went thru the Canadian school system, they have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what feet, inches, miles, pounds, etc.are. But maybe that's a good thang.

    And to John E., Ben Franklin is one of my few heroes. The greatest genius of his time, and the biggest reason the US has done so well up until the current Bush administration...(hey, my parents have been staunch Republicans, and even they've had enough of Dubya!) Too bad old Ben couldn't talk the rest of the founding fathers into going metric. And I agree, the bicycle is a real hodge-podge of international measurements. Italian bottom brackets? They're 36mm x 24 threads per inch. Steerer tubes come in 1-inch and 1 1/8 inch, but seat tubes are commonly 27.2mm. Pedals are 9/16" everywhere in the world, but you install them with a 15mm pedal wrench or a 6mm allen wrench, and all the bolts on a bike are M4, M5, or M6. Bicycles were obviously invented by a committee.

    - Luis

  17. #17
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    Isn't the monetary system here in the US actually metric?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Isn't the monetary system here in the US actually metric?
    Nope. It's imaginary. I'm always imagining what it would be like to have money, but since I've
    never really had money...it must be imaginary.

  19. #19
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    The quality guys (and gals) at work are always talking about needing more metrics. There must be a hundred of them.

  20. #20
    It's all about the Ort. TrackGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    We went metric many Moons ago but we are still 50/50 on metric and imperial.
    Don't you still weigh yourselves in Stones?

  21. #21
    Senior Member OH306's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrackGuy View Post
    Don't you still weigh yourselves in Stones?
    Actually they do. A stone is around 14 pounds. This is OK, but the measurement is not accurate enough so someone may say "I weigh 10 3/4 stone". If I was in charge I would modify this to boulders, rocks and pebbles where 4 pebbles=1 rock, 4 rocks=1 boulder and 4 boulders=1 stone. The same flaw exists with temp measurement in celsius. 28 deg C. is much warmer than 26 but it doesn't sound like much.

  22. #22
    el padre
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    I am just a stones throw away from my ideal weight...
    peace

  23. #23
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    Yeah, I hope I am not offending all you Yanks (well, I'm a dual citizen myself - raised in Berkeley and Oakland during the 60's, living in Canada since the 70's) but I always wonder when the USA is going to join the rest of the world, which happens to be on the metric system. Holy cow, even the US military uses metric, why don't civilians?

    T- L.
    You're no offending me at all. I agree with everything you've said. I favor a move to metric. Attempts have indeed been made. An attempt was made in the 70's, during the Carter administration, I think. There were public service ads in newspapers and on tv, telling people all about how easy the metric system would make it for everyone. A second, smaller attempt was made in the early 80's. What happened was,,,nothing.

    When will the USA convert to metric? My guess would be never. The old english system is just too entrenched. Americans hate changes in the "status quo". (witness the failure of the gold dollar coin a few years ago.) I remember a few gas stations in the 70s, adjusting their pumps to sell gas by the liter. The result? people stopped buying gas at those stations, and they quickly adjusted their pumps back.

    Automobile manufacturers were able to market engine displacement in terms of Liters, instead of cubic inches, but that's about it. And even then, some "Manly Men" won't hear of that. They want their engines in cubic inches, and "not that commie metric crap". Hey don't laugh, I've heard it said.
    I thought I was suffering from depression once. Turned out, I was simply surrounded by idiots.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    Did this by mistake after a battery change and I thought I was on EPO!
    Very Good!!!

  25. #25
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    2. Instead of miles per gallon (a rather simple concept to understand), you will have to learn a concept called "liters per 100 kilometers." No, they wouldn't take the simple way and do kilometers per liter. They do liters per 100 kilometers. 10 liters per 100 kilometers is about 25 miles per gallon. The lower the number, the better.
    - Luis
    Have to disagree with you on this one. My van gets a little better than 10 L/ 100 km on the highway. If I am going to drive 500 km I know I will use about 50 L, and at current $1.00 /L it will cost me $50. Much simpler calculation.

    The trick to metric conversion is to get used to it and not convert. I have no idea what my mileage is in miles per gallon. When I am in Canada and hear that the temp is 25C I know that is very pleasant. When I am in the USA and hear it is 80F, I also know that is pleasant. Not sure which is warmer, but I don't care.

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